Book 34, The Stone Hellephant Wall, Chapter 25 – Autarch Bolin
Ji Ning was rather stunned when he saw this. Those three silver men had been incredibly strong… how had they been so easily slain?
Still, when he thought of the three words ‘an Autarch’s territory’ he began to understand. Anything that had even the most tenuous of connections to an Autarch was guaranteed to be extraordinary. Autarchs were the most supreme leaders of the entire cultivator civilization! They were even able to create those alternate universes which Eternal Emperors fought over like rabid dogs, seeking to take control over them and become Otherverse Lords!
Those otherverses were nothing more than constructs devised by the Autarchs. This was a testament to how mighty the Autarchs were.
“Senior.” Ning stared at the wicked black-robed figure. He couldn’t help but ask, “This place is an Autarch’s territory? Are you saying that one of the legendary Autarchs set this place up?”
“Correct.” The black-robed man revealed a hint of a smile as a flicker of pride appeared in his eyes. “My master was named Bolin. The countless cultivators of the Chaosverse reverentially refer to him as Autarch Bolin. Aside from the few other Autarchs who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him, there is no one in all the Chaosverse who is his equal. Young fellow, you are currently just a Daolord; you can’t even imagine just how powerful an Autarch is.”
Ning could sense the benevolent intentions radiating from this man. In truth, when he heard the words ‘I invited this cultivator to come in’ Ning immediately realized that this person was a friend, not a foe. Given how he was able to annihilate the three clan leaders with ease, there was no need for him to deceive Ning.
Ning couldn’t help but ask, “Senior, are Autarchs capable of reversing the flows of spacetime within a chaosworld to revive a Celestial Immortal whose truesoul was destroyed?”
“Of course! Forget about Celestial Immortals, even World-level cultivators can be rescued if the Autarch was willing.” The black-robed man shook his head. “However, being ‘able’ to do so is one thing; being ‘willing’ to do so is another. Reversing spacetime to revive someone will cause the Autarch to endure a backlash from the prime essences of the entire Chaosverse. Not even an Autarch would suffer something like this lightly. You would have to pay a high price, a price which would sway even an Autarch.”
Ning nodded slowly.
“Come with me,” the black-robed man instructed. He glanced sideways at the corpses of the three silver men. “Right, go ahead and collect those corpses. They probably have a few treasures on them.”
“Alright.” Ning waved his hand, collecting all three corpses.
“Instead of being actual cultivators, they chose to undergo the Ritual Sacrificium and serve as the pawns of the Sithe.” The black-robed man shook his head. “And the most unsightly Sithe pawns I’ve ever seen.”
“The most unsightly?” Ning was surprised.
The black-robed man nodded. “True Sithe are extremely powerful! Generally speaking, the stronger a Sithe is, the more unwilling he is to undergo the Ritual Sacrificium. Although the ritual will allow them to rapidly increase in strength within a short period of time, they lose all hope of making any further breakthroughs. This is why strong Sithe disdain such an act.”
“As for these three fools? They can’t even compare to real Silver Daolords in power, while Silver Daolords represented the most common footsoldiers in the Sithe army. During that great war, Hegemons served as the mainstays in each army! Long ago, our five Autarchs united the forces of all cultivators in the entire Chaosverse to fight that great war. The Autarchs served as the vanguard, the edge of the blade that tore through all of the important Sithe locations,” the black-robed man said. “For example, this entire thing was once a Sithe warship.”
“Warship?” Ning had never imagined that the ‘Stone Hellephant Wall’ was actually a warship!
“Well, I suppose it would be more appropriate to describe it as a terrifying war-fortress! It was capable of easily tearing through spacetime and going from realmverse to realmverse. This warship was so powerful that it was able to slay Hegemons in the blink of an eye,” the black-robed man said.
“Not even a squad of ten Hegemons working together were able to fight this thing to a standstill. Thus, when my master discovered this thing he continued to pursue it without pause. It fled at high speed, tearing through spacetime repeatedly as it tried to escape, but my master was able to enter it and then slaughter a path through it. He ruined this entire warship, slaying more than thirty thousand Sithe and destroying all of the golems. He destroyed everything, leaving nothing behind!”
Ning was breathless upon hearing this. So this was how powerful an Autarch was?! “All the golems were destroyed?” Ning was puzzled. “But I still saw plenty of Emperor-class golems outside.”
“To my master, those golems posed no conceivable threat at all. He let out a casual strike, destroying all the golems and then immediately departing this place. He had to hurry off to a different battlefield and continue the war against the Sithe,” the black-robed man said. “In truth, however, these Sithe golems all possessed self-repair mechanisms.”
“They looked like they had been destroyed, but some were able to regenerate. As more time passed, some slowly were able to rebuild themselves. Some actually scavenged for parts from other golems that had been destroyed. Thus, a fraction of the golems are still alive, but they pose no real danger at all.”
Ning was speechless. ‘No real danger at all’? He had been forced to flee in pathetic fashion by those four Emperor-class golems which were comparable to the eight lords of the Sacred Cities. Still, it made sense; to Autarch Bolin, those creatures were nothing more than ants. Any Hegemon would’ve been able to destroy them with ease. They really didn’t pose any danger to the cultivator civilization in general.
“Follow me,” the black-robed man instructed as he flew forwards.
“Yes.” Ning followed from behind.
By now, the three great clans were in a state of utter panic. Although they had been extremely stunned by the deaths of so many Daolords, they still felt fairly calm because they knew that the Silver Daolords were the true foundation of power for them! Every single clan leader was able to inherit the legacy of a Silver Daolord.
“How is this possible?”
“The clan leaders died?”
“How could they have died? How could the clan leaders have died?”
“Impossible. No clan leader has ever been killed since the establishment of the three great clans.”
They were all completely dumbfounded. The three great clans didn’t even know what they should do next, because they had never encountered a situation like this since they had been created. Clan leaders always died when their lifespans came to an end! None had ever been killed. Now that they had been killed, the ‘Silver Daolord’ legacy had clearly been lost as well. How would they be able to protect themselves without any Silver Daolords?
“What should we do? The entire Fumo clan only has a single Daolord left!” They were all utterly terrified.
“Go to the ancestral grounds! Go now and seize back the Silver Daolord legacy!”
“You idiot! Seize it? Seize it how?! All three clan leaders were slain; if I went, I would be instantly annihilated by Daolord Darknorth!”
“We can’t afford any further losses at all.”
“Everyone… the three great clans have been defeated. Defeated! The only thing we can do is protect our clan as best we can, using the Sithe disks and the many barriers left behind by our ancestors! So long as Daolord Darknorth can’t breach our barriers, he won’t be able to enter. All we can do is delay as long as we can. Once Daolord Darknorth lifespan comes to an end and he dies, we’ll use our Emperor-class golems to rise to power once more.”
“Yes, delaying is all we can do.”
The three great clans simultaneously came to this same decision. Right now, they each only had one or two Daolords left. It must be remembered that only Daolords were capable of syncing with the Sithe disks that maintained the clan barriers. Once the clans lost their Daolords, they would be completely doomed!
The black-robed man flew into the sky, leading Ning behind him.
“During that great war, the Autarchs made contingency plans in the event of defeat,” the black-robed man said. “If they were defeated, we would need to be able to raise a new ‘crop’ of experts who would continue the struggle against the Sithe. Thus, my master Autarch Bolin set up many beastworlds. He put estate-worlds in every single beast statue, and the Daos he put into them were Daos which could lead to Autarchy!”
“Lead towards Autarchy?” Ning’s heart trembled.
“Don’t get too excited. It only ‘leads’ towards Autarchy, but actually reaching the Autarch level is far too difficult.” The black-robed man laughed. “Although the Sithe were extremely powerful as a group, they didn’t have any individuals who could match our Autarchs in power, which was why they were defeated in the end. Autarchs are just too powerful. Just look at this warship! It was incredibly powerful, but it was viewed as nothing more but a plaything by the Autarchs.”
“Generally speaking, only Eternal Emperors are qualified to enter these beastworlds. I generally have no interest in Daolords at all, and they aren’t qualified to enter.” The black-robed man smiled. “But just now, I noticed that you were actually able to battle those three pathetic Silver Daolords to a standstill. I was quite surprised by this. You were just a Daolord, after all, and I can tell that you aren’t wielding a Universe treasure. For you to be able to unleash such might is quite rare indeed, which was why I permitted you to enter. I hope you will not disappoint me.”